Before and After: A Weekend Project Totally Transforms an “Eyesore” Laundry Area for Just $235

published Feb 11, 2021
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Before: cluttered laundry area with plain white wawlls
Credit: Gemma Gear

Sometimes it’s the utilitarian spaces at home that can be the most vulnerable to disorganization. Hall closets, attics, and more can easily turn into dumping grounds since they’re easy to keep out of sight and out of mind.

Gemma Gear (That’s So Gemma) found that her problem was the small utility area off of Victorian home’s galley kitchen. “It was a ‘dumping ground’ space for food and cleaning products and was often piled high with laundry,” Gemma says. “I genuinely resented going in to the room as it was always very chaotic and stressful.”

Credit: Gemma Gear

Gemma knew something needed to change.

“We’re planning on renovating our kitchen this year, but the budget won’t extend to the utility room,” she says. “I decided I wanted to tackle the space myself to make it more exciting and bearable.”

Top priorities: adding cheer and organization, maximizing the small space, and creating a solution to help hide laundry mess.

Credit: Gemma Gear

Gemma took just a weekend to complete this total redo. To add some cheer to the once all-white space, she painted the radiator pink (UK Valspar’s Swoon, similar to US Valspar’s Dawn’s Reveal). Then, she went bright on both the ceiling and window frame, choosing an electric vintagey green (UK Valspar’s Refreshment Stand, similar to US Valspar’s Lavish Green).

“I love that I was brave enough to paint the ceiling aqua green!” Gemma says “It was quite a bold move.” But, she says, paired with the pink radiator and the other graphic accents, it doesn’t feel out of place.

The bare bulb light fixture also got an upgrade, with a simple shade fastened around it that instantly dresses it up.

Credit: Gemma Gear

To transform her old faux-wood countertop, Gemma reached for peel-and-stick paper in a marble pattern. Stickers also helped turn her plain white backsplash into a whimsical new graphic pattern.

Above the countertop, Gemma hung a new set of shelves set on double brackets. “I love the large double shelf as this has maximized our storage space,” she says. “I used storage baskets to hide the clutter — they’re such a good option for making mess look tidy!”

Finally, Gemma hung fabric from a rod under her countertop to help hide away the washer and laundry. It’s easy for her to pull back to access what she needs, and in a cute leopard-print blue fabric it feels like a style feature.

While the redo wasn’t totally comprehensive — Gemma says if she’d had the budget, she would have installed more lighting to brighten it up — it was high-impact. That’s pretty impressive considering Gemma spent just £170 ($235).

“I wanted to prove that makeovers don’t have to be expensive, so came up with quick-fix ideas that didn’t break the bank,” Gemma says. “Honestly it’s had such a huge effect for minimal costs.”